“What I want you to know” en by Kat van Duin

The fash­ion de­signer, busi­ness­woman and mother shares lifechang­ing ad­vice.

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I be­lieve that we be­come what we think, which means that we all have the power to cre­ate ex­pe­ri­ences and achieve­ments with our mind­set. To make sure that your mind fo­cuses on the up­lift­ing, the pos­i­tive and the as­pi­ra­tional, try these ex­er­cises:

Set in­ten­tions for your day: you’ll be amazed at how they man­i­fest in your life. At least once a year, set time aside to make a mood board of images that ex­press your dreams and hopes for the fu­ture – it’s a pow­er­ful step to­wards re­al­is­ing what you want.

For­get about fail­ure! I don’t be­lieve in it. I be­lieve in tak­ing risks and learn­ing. Ev­ery­thing in my life has led me to where I am to­day, and I have no re­grets.

Know that the right men­tal­ity, self­be­lief and abil­ity to frame out­comes in a pos­i­tive way will help you turn chal­lenges and set­backs into suc­cesses and life lessons. You never know who you might meet as you go about your day – I’ve made amaz­ing busi­ness con­tacts in un­ex­pected places, and of­ten through chance en­coun­ters. And first im­pres­sions al­ways count. What you wear also af­fects how you feel, and that shows in your pos­ture, body lan­guage and con­fi­dence. So it’s im­por­tant to be mind­ful of how you look and not to un­der­es­ti­mate the power of aes­thet­ics and per­sonal brand­ing.

Work out what styles suit you, and how this aligns with the image you want to por­tray, and then in­vest in a good ‘uni­form’: key pieces that ex­press your sense of self. This will hone your iden­tity, take the panic out of de­cid­ing what to wear in the morn­ings and help you leave home ev­ery day feel­ing in­cred­i­ble.

Money and pres­tige are fleet­ing. Lov­ing what you do is more im­por­tant for your hap­pi­ness than a pay cheque or job ti­tle. So whether you’re leav­ing school and set­ting out in the world, con­sid­er­ing what to study next or con­tem­plat­ing a job change, take time to think about what you re­ally love do­ing.

Ask your­self what kind of en­vi­ron­ment you want to ex­pe­ri­ence, what kind of prod­ucts you want to work with and what kind of peo­ple you want to be sur­rounded by, and let those an­swers be your guide. I lost my first hus­band in a mo­tor­bike ac­ci­dent when my second child was only a few months old. And since we’d just moved to SA, my sup­port net­work was limited. It was one of the tough­est times of my life, but I had a choice: dwell on the loss or look for­ward, and for the sake of my chil­dren and my­self, I fo­cused on my fu­ture.

Life isn’t fair, and we all en­counter tragedies and hard­ships. But it’s not what hap­pens to us that de­fines us; it’s the choices we make as a re­sult of those tri­als.

Al­ways choose to look up and ahead. And know that there is noth­ing more glo­ri­ous, up­lift­ing or ex­cit­ing than the prospect of great things to come. One of my first jobs in my home­land of Poland was door-todoor sell­ing. It was the most dif­fi­cult job I’ve ever done, but it taught me valu­able skills, such as the abil­ity to read body lan­guage, which is cru­cial for con­nect­ing with and con­vinc­ing peo­ple to buy things.

That job also taught me to never take “No” for an an­swer, and to stay mo­ti­vated for the next sale – even if I’d just had a door slammed in my face.

Our fear of hear­ing “No” is such an un­founded one. When one door closes, an­other one opens. And what’s so aw­ful or scary about hear­ing “No” and sim­ply mov­ing on? Be­sides, no one ever got any­where with­out ask­ing, and when you start ask­ing with con­fi­dence and a warm smile, you’ll be amazed by how many times you’ll hear “Yes”!

HOW TO CRE­ATE A BRAND

Have a voice Your brand needs to be dis­tinct and recog­nis­able, and con­sis­tency is key. From the way you write about it to the font and logo colours, have a sin­gle set of val­ues and one aes­thetic that in­forms ev­ery­thing and binds it all to­gether. Trial your logo It may look great printed, but maybe the font is too skinny to em­boss or em­broi­der, or maybe the image is trade­marked. Con­sider all of these fac­tors once you’ve cho­sen a logo – you don’t want to have to change it later. Know your mar­ket It will take time to dis­cover your tar­get mar­ket, but once you do, you’ll know how to sus­tain and grow your brand. Be your brand Peo­ple re­late to other peo­ple more than to prod­ucts or ser­vices, and clients want to see the face be­hind the name. You will al­ways be the best sell­ing tool for your brand; rep­re­sent it well.

Kat van Duinen x BLOMBOY: Nat­u­ralis 2016 col­lab­o­ra­tion.

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